Interview: Scott Horowitz
STS-101 Crew Interviews with Scott Horowitz, the Pilot of Space
tell me why you wanted to be an astronaut. What is it in your
background that led you to this?
since I was a really small child, I'd been around airplanes and
been interested in designing and building and flying airplanes.
My dad took me flying when I was six years old, and I'd been flying
with him ever since, built model airplanes, and in school I really
liked math and science and loved reading about exploration and
bush pilots and all those kinds of things. And then my sixth-grade
teacher actually wrote a note in my little annual at the end of
the year and said, "To one of the future astronauts. "And
I thought, Hey, this is great: Math, science, flying-it's perfect
for me!" And that's why I decided that I was going to be
noted in your NASA biography an interest in building and flying
homemade aircraft. Is that what you were involved in as a small
child with your own father?
As a small
child, my dad and I built a lot of model airplanes. We had always
talked about building a home-built airplane in our garage. We
never did get around to that and so, finally, years later-in fact
after I was in the Air Force, my wife and I built a small two-seat
home-built airplane in our garage. I still have [it] today, [and]
I fly around with my daughter, now, who's four years old.
you trying to build the next generation of astronauts?
Well, I just
want to share with her the joy of flying because I always thought
it was so fascinating. And, as much as it annoys my wife, I still
like to take my four-year-old up flying; she really loves it.
Who knows? Maybe someday she'll want to get into doing something
like this or maybe not. I don't know.
your daughter do that and grow up to become an astronaut, she
would probably then look to you as being a source of inspiration
for her. Who were the sources of inspiration for you?
primary sources of inspiration, of course, were my parents. Growing
up, they obviously got me interested in things like math and science
and other activities. My father, who is an electrical engineer
and helped design the first computer, UNIVAC I, was a big inspiration
to me. A lot of my education background and everything is engineering,
in particular, aerospace engineering, and his interest in flying,
obviously, bled over to me. I really enjoyed flying. My brothers
and I used to fly with him all over the country in small airplanes.
My sixth grade teacher was the one who wrote in my yearbook that
"To one of the future astronauts." This was during the
time of the Apollo missions to the Moon and everything. He was
an inspiration, if you will, to get me going. And then all my
heroes growing up, were people like Charles Lindbergh and such,
and so they were all an inspiration to me.
you, after that push in the sixth grade, what were the steps
in your career?
one of these focused people. I mean, I sat down and decided, well,
if I'm going to go do something I'm going to research how to do
it, and I started making phone calls in junior high school. I
actually called the Johnson Space Center here and said, "I want to be an astronaut." Of course, I was a little young
at the time. They were actually very helpful, and they sent little
information pamphlets like we send out to folks that are interested.
One of them had a list of all the criteria for astronaut selection.
So, my thought was, I'm just going to do everything on that list,
and that included, you know, doing well in math and science, getting
advanced degrees in engineering or science. I laid out exactly
what I was going to do: go to school, get my degrees, join the
Air Force, become a pilot. I was going to become a test pilot.
Then I was going to go join NASA. So, I'm one of those people
that decided exactly what I was going to do and just marched down
the road and kept sending in my application until they got tired
of hearing from me. So, they hired me.
flown twice before. You've been training for a mission to the
International Space Station and recently got word that you and
some of your crewmates were going to be flying a revised mission
with three new crewmates and have only a short time to prepare
for it. Tell me your reaction to the news that you would fly
assembly flight 2A.2a.
reaction to being on the first half of our mission was …
pretty much I expected that to happen. For the flight deck crew,
there really wasn't much of an option. We had trained in Atlantis.
Atlantis is the first flight of MEDS. There was a lot of overhead
associated with that training. There really was no reason to have
the flight deck crew split up and fly on the second half of the
mission. So, we pretty much knew that, whatever happened. There
was a lot of turmoil in the weeks leading up to the final announcement
of what we were going to do as to who was going to fly what, but
we pretty much knew that the flight deck crew was probably going
to stay intact. So, there wasn't a huge reaction as far as which
flight I was going to be on.
shorthand way that, I guess, we've taken to describing this
is that STS-101 is being split into two missions.
mission that you're on, describe the main goals of what this
mission is now. Why has NASA decided to make that split and
fly this mission now?
happened is STS-101 originally was a post-Service Module mission.
The Service Module was going to be launched, put on top of the
current stack. To continue building the station, we were going
to go up and do all this, basically, connection of the Service
Module to the FGB, interior outfitting of all the equipment that
was going in the Service Module. What has happened in the meantime
is that the station has been untended for quite a while. There
are parts that have service lives -- for example, batteries --
that are projected to last about a year-and-a-half if everything's
just right, exact temperatures and everything. Some of these parts
are wearing out. They are supposed to be replaced on a normal
basis, and they haven't been. There are enough of those tasks
that have backlogged now to basically keep us busy for an entire
mission. So, our job is to go up and replace these serviceable
items, fix a few items that have failed, and basically get the
station in a posture where it's ready to receive the Service Module,
which will lead on to what our mission originally was going to
be, which is what STS-106 will fly.
decision to make this split of missions is coming just a matter
of a few months out from your intended launch. [It] is very
unusual for NASA, historically, to set something up that would
happen that quickly. But the old way of planning it out for
months and months and practicing it for months and months ahead
of time was before the International Space Station. Is your
mission an example, a glaring example maybe, of how things are
going to be different from now on?
Well, I think
what you're seeing is we're going to have a different way of doing
business. The old way of doing shuttle-based missions was you
usually had a long time-a couple of years-to prep for a mission
and get ready. Now we're into servicing an operational space station
and keeping it running, which requires logistics support, manpower
support and all that, and it's a different way to do business.
We're going to have to have people who are ready to go on a couple
of months' notice to go work on the space station. We have never
had to do that before. It's going to completely change the way
we think about training. We're going to have to keep a skills
base in the Astronaut Corps, and across the entire group of folks
that are supporting the mission, to be able to react pretty rapidly
to changing conditions on the space station. The good news for
us is that the mission we're doing is really a subset of what
we already trained for, so as disruptive as it looks, in getting
ready for a whole other mission, really, we were training all
the tasks that we thought we might have to do. So, now we are
just basically picking from that pool of tasks that we already
know how to do, and we will have the skills to go do the mission.
We will not, in the future, be able to have these very finely
scripted missions like we're used to doing on [the] space shuttle,
where every minute of every day is a hundred percent scripted
and practiced. I think in general we're going to say, "Here's
a list of tasks. Here's a group of people with the skills. Let's
go do it."
talk about the specifics, and you've referred to this already.
The flight deck on Space Shuttle Atlantis, where you and Jim
Halsell will take your seats on launch day, is quite different
from the flight deck that you've worked on before. After its
previous 20 flights, Atlantis is the first of the orbiters to
be upgraded. You used the acronym MEDS before. Others have referred
to it as a "glass cockpit." Can you talk about the
changes or the improvements that the glass cockpit brings to
the shuttle? What about it is different? What are the reasons
for having done this?
as you mentioned, has the "glass cockpit," and it's
called that because, basically, if you look at the dashboard,
it's all glass displays. What was happening in the fleet was we
had lots of mechanical gauges. The attitude indicator is this
big, mechanical, very complex ball with lots of moving parts,
and some of those parts nobody was building anymore. That became
one problem. The other thing is that with these electronic displays,
you now have a lot of flexibility to put whatever information
you want on these displays. We've actually seen, in our training
flow, that we can take advantage of the fact that we can reconfigure
the displays for the task that we're doing to optimize which of
the crewmembers gets to see what information. In fact, we can
duplicate information in a way that more people can keep an eye
on each systems and back each other up. So, this is the first
step of the upgraded cockpits, and there's a whole group working
on an even more upgraded shuttle cockpit in the future. What we're
learning is that there's a tremendous potential, which we haven't
even tapped yet, to really improve what I call S.A., the situational
awareness of the crewmembers by providing them useful information
in a useful form that can be formatted for the task they are doing,
which you can't do with a mechanical gauge.
it possible to say that it's easier or harder to work in that
environment than in the old one?
With a "glass
cockpit," if done correctly, you could make the operator's
job immensely easier because you can do a lot of processing in
the computers that normally you would have to look at three or
four different mechanical gauges to try to figure out what's going
on. A lot of that hasn't been incorporated into this cockpit yet
because it's the first step. So, by changing the displays to a
more readable type, a lot of that has gotten easier. The downside
is, because we haven't taken full advantage of the capabilities,
it's not as easy as it could be yet. It's a whole other system
we have to learn because every system that we put in the vehicle,
the training team is obliged to break it as much as possible when
we go through our training. So, it's another set of computers
that we have to deal with when they break during training. But
when everything's operating normally, which is 99.99 percent of
the time, it's a great help.
rendezvous with the International Space Station is going to
be similar to what the STS-96 astronauts flew on the last station
assembly mission last year. Talk us through the events of rendezvous
day, and as you do that describe what you'll be doing while
Jim Halsell flies Atlantis up to the ISS.
When we wake
up on rendezvous morning, it's a very busy day. We basically get
up, and we're immediately into the rendezvous checklist. It's
a whole separate checklist that has all the events that are going
to occur that day to basically get the space shuttle hooked up
to the space station, which is the ultimate goal of going up there,
so we can go do our work. We start configuring the orbiter. We'll
actually do some of this the night before, where we'll set up
some small computers [called] PGSCs. And we have some software
that runs that helps us envision how the rendezvous is going and
use some of the tools we'll use to actually monitor and perform
the closing on the space station. It starts out kind of at a slow
pace. There are some burns that we will perform, and we start
off performing burns that are computed by the ground and sent
up to us. Then, at some point, we transition to using the on board
solution, which is the computers on board are finding a solution
to the burns. We're using our sensors to track the space station
to help improve our relative understanding of each other's state
vector, or where we are exactly in relation to each other. This
all takes us to a point which we call TI, and this is sort of
like the pivotal point of the rendezvous. At this point, things
start getting really busy. One revolution around the Earth we
will make a burn that'll take us to basically intercept a point
just below the space station. At this point, Jim and I have both
been working on doing these burns and getting the cockpit set
up and doing this work, and Jeff Williams and the other crewmembers
are doing all the support functions to get ready for the rendezvous.
Jim will perform the first few burns with myself in the front
cockpit, sitting like pilot and commander, and then, after we
do some of the mid-course correction burns, Jim actually gets
out of his seat and goes to the back because he will do the manual
flying from the aft part of the cockpit using the aft controllers,
looking out the back window, which is where the station will come
in eventually. I will move into his seat, Jeff Williams will move
into my seat, and then we're responsible for maintaining the checklists
and keeping all the tasks occurring and performing the other correction
burns from the front cockpit. After the last correction burn is
completed, which is NC4, the controls will be handed off to be
completely manual [controlled by] Jim in the back cockpit. At
this point, I'm basically monitoring systems and running checklists
and making sure that all the steps occur. And then Jim's responsible
for intercepting what we call the R-bar, which, if you drew a
line directly from the station to the center of the Earth, that's
the R-bar, and we will come up underneath the station. He will
perform a maneuver to get us going straight at the station up
this R-bar and then, basically, do a barrel roll around the station.
So, we'll be out at about 500 feet or so, we'll go around the
station, end up over the top of the station at approximately 250
to 300 feet, and then we'll start coming in on top of the station.
Now depending on the exact day we launch, the station might be
in a different attitude to optimize how much solar energy it's
getting on its panels, so he may have to, at about 170 feet, take
the shuttle and turn it sideways. So then we'll be coming down
on top, sideways, and then it'll be all manual control. We have
a stationkeeping at 170 feet to try to get all the timing to work
out because we have a small window to actually make the docking
-- 170 feet. When the time to press comes in, he'll move in to
30 feet. At 30 feet, we take a last look at the end of the space
station, the docking port. There's a target, and we have to make
sure that both vehicles are aligned plus or minus about a degree
of each other. We will do that, make some final corrections to
the attitude of the space shuttle, and then, at about five minutes
and fifty seconds prior to docking, Jim will press in from there.
We'll be closing at .1 foot per second, which sounds really slow
but, when you have two 200,000-pound masses heading for each other,
it's pretty exciting. He will fly manually down the corridor to
meet both the constraints on how fast we dock and the time we
dock so that we can do it over a ground site to have backup control
of the space station once we dock.
those are the ground sites in Russia that are communicating
to the station.
So, a lot of stuff happens that day. And then, once we have capture,
Mary Ellen will kick off the docking sequence. We'll get down
to a hard-mate situation, where we have the two vehicles hard
down and mated, and we can start getting ready to ingress.
before you get to go inside your timeline calls for some activities
to take place on the outside of the station.
Williams and Jim Voss are going to be getting in the suits and
going outside. You are the intravehicular crewmember for this
mission. You'll be, in essence, running that spacewalk from
inside. Talk us through that day. What tasks, as the timeline's
being developed, are involved and what makes it hard or easy
this time out?
first day of real activity on the space station is spacewalking
the EV activities. I will be their IV running the checklist, as
you mentioned. And there's a lot of overhead just to do an EVA.
We have to get all the suits out, get them all checked out. That'll
have been done earlier in the mission. And, of course, Jeff and
Jim will be pretty excited because they're getting ready to go
outdoors. We'll get up that morning get them fed, get them dressed,
get them in the airlock, kick them out the door. It's probably
like sending your kid to school when it's snowing out. And then
all the work outside begins. The first task that the EV crewmembers
are going to have to do is what's called OTD. It's a large crane
that was installed on STS-96. For some reason, that crane has
become partially undocked from its docking adapter on the station
and seems to be free to rotate, based on photos we [took] of the
station during the STS-96 flyaway. They took pictures of it, and
we noticed that the crane seems to be in different positions,
so the first task is to figure out if they can redock that into
its mating adapter and get it locked down hard because we don't
want that crane spinning freely up there. That'll be their first
task. If, for some reason, there's damage to that socket and we
can't get it to mate, we will probably have to bring that crane
nside. It's a fairly large crane, and we've already practiced
this, but they'll have to disconnect it, fold it up, and somehow
get it in the airlock. The airlock's pretty tight anyway, and
the spacesuits, they're very large and very bulky and hard to
maneuver. So getting in the airlock with that crane is going to
be a real challenge for Jeff and Jim. And we have to be careful
because the airlock is a little bit fragile. You don't want to
be poking it with a sharp metal object. We've practiced that,
looks like they can do that, but that's their first challenge.
The next challenge is Strela, which is a manual crane that's manufactured
in Russia. And we have to take that off of what's called the ICC,
which is a big pallet in the back of the shuttle. It's bolted
down there. They have to take this off, assemble it on some parts
that are already on the station, and then take that entire assembly
and put it into a fitting where it can rest, where it's out of
the way of other hardware on the station and not in the way of
missions that are going to come after us. Eventually, it'll get
moved up towards the Service Module once it gets attached. So,
that's their next challenge. They're pretty busy doing all those
tasks. And then we have some other tasks, like changing out an
antenna that needs to be swapped out and clearing some cables
to make some targets more visible.
antenna in question is one that is on the port side of the Unity
node that was installed on STS-88.
is it being changed?
is [a] temporary system. A lot of people don't realize the environment
of space is very harsh -- in sunlight, temperatures can be +200
degrees and in darkness can be -200 degress. So, between thermal
cycling and just exposure to the atomic oxygen and all those things
in space, the antenna is starting to fail. They've had some failures
of components of the antenna, so we have an entire new antenna
assembly that we can basically disconnect four connectors, plug
in the new antenna, and put it back on the port side. That'll
be a bit of a challenge for Jeff Williams, who's tasked to do
that job, because the access to the antenna is not trivial in
the spacesuit. He has to basically get in this foot restraint
that's on the side of Unity and get himself positioned over to
work on the antenna without the aid of the robot arm.
also been modest enough not to mention that, for all of these
tasks that are to be performed, there's the added complicating
factor of the fact that you and Mary Ellen Weber can't see them.
just makes it more of a challenge to actually do all [the] tasks
without anybody inside having direct eye contact with the EV crewmembers.
On previous flights -- my last flight was 82 -- we could see exactly
what was going on out the windows, which was great. On this flight,
when Jim docks the space shuttle to the station -- the PMA is
the bottom part of the station that's sort of a triangular, cone-looking
thing - it's about 18 inches from the back window and completely
fills our field of view. So, when we look out the back window,
we see a black object, and we can't see anything. Overhead, we're
going to see a black object, except when they clear some wires
underneath we may have an EVA guy poking underneath the PMA. So,
it's all done via cameras, which makes Mary Ellen's job tough
because the robot arm is basically going to be operating in a
place that can only be monitored by cameras. And I have to basically
use a computer model of the station and, listening to where the
EVA guys tell me they are, to keep track of where they are on
the stack while we're doing these EVAs.
experience of helping with EVAs on STS-82, is it helping you
do this better?
previously done an EVA-type flight - I wasn't the IV crewmember
there but I did assist the EV crewmembers, helping them get suited
up and go out the door - I have a good understanding for how EVA
day will go and the type of problems the EV guys will encounter.
So it's really helped in my preparing to be the IV and actually
the backup EV crewmember for this flight.
the spacewalk, the work inside the International Space Station
is to begin. Do you have any sense, at this point, of how you'll
feel when you float into that station for the first time?
When we first
float into station it's kind of hard to know how we're going to
react because we're going to be so busy. We have so much to do.
We're going to be focused on getting things done, but I've never
been in that large a volume in space. From what I've heard that's
pretty impressive. When you get through the PMA and into the Node,
which is a fairly large volume, it's very impressive in zero-g
to float around in such a large volume. So that's going to be
a pretty neat experience, plus realizing that you're about ready
to go to work on this pretty intricate piece of hardware and that
you have all this stuff to do and no time to get it done. It's
probably going to be a little bit overwhelming.
break down the kinds of tasks that are involved. The top priority
for this mission is being characterized as the repair of equipment
in Zarya, which has been on orbit since late 1998. Talk about
the particular equipment that is targeted for repair or replacement
and what's involved in the jobs that you and your crewmates
are doing. Are these things that were scheduled to be changed
or things that are broken and have to be changed?
Most of the
work that has to be done is to replace parts that eventually were
going to be replaced anyway. But the number one item is the batteries.
The space station runs all its electrical systems off of batteries
that get recharged from the solar panels. So, every 45 minutes
or so it's in sunlight, and every 45 minutes it's in darkness,
and when it's in darkness it runs completely off the batteries
that discharge, and when it's in light the batteries get recharged
from the solar arrays. Well, all the cycling of the batteries
over the last year has eventually worn out the batteries. They're
only good for so many cycles. They've worn out a little faster
because of some tweaks in the charging system and some failures
of some of those components. There are six batteries. Each of
the batteries has what we'll call black boxes. There are Russian
acronyms -- I won't go into all that -- that describe each of
the boxes. But, a battery set is a battery, two large boxes that
[are] part of the charging cycle and three smaller ones. So, there's
a total of six components in a battery block. Right now we know
of at least two batteries and several of the components that need
to be replaced. We probably won't know for another couple of weeks
whether we're going to replace more. All the batteries have shown
signs that they're wearing out. Two of them have had, basically,
hard failures, and so I'm sure as many batteries and replacement
parts as they can give us, we're going to replace. In order to
replace these parts, all the components are behind panels and
most of the battery components are in the floor. So, they're all
on what we call the deck or the floor of the station. Unfortunately,
STS-96 put a lot of stuff in the station for the Expedition crews,
and so all the panels are covered with bags of supplies. So, the
first thing you have to do; it's trying to go into your messy
garage and go work on something. You've got to get everything
out of the way, and then you have to go stow that somewhere before
you can even start to work. So there's a lot of overhead, and
that's just something we have to do and take care of. And then
you can go do the work, open the panels, disconnect whichever
components you need, and you have to do this in concert with the
ground because a lot of things have to be powered down before
you can replace the box. So, the coordination between us on orbit
and the ground [is] going to be kind of critical to get these
tasks done in a timely manner. Then we replace the boxes, get
everything checked out, close it up, put the stuff back on top
of it, and then we can go on to the next item.
you refer to the coordination with the ground, are we talking
about coordinating with Russian flight controllers? With the
ISS Flight Control Room in Houston? Both?
This is a
shuttle-based mission, so all of our coordination is through MCC-Houston.
Now, there's obviously a lot of coordination going on in Moscow,
but that is being done on the ground for us. If we have a specific
question that we want to ask a Russian specialist about a task
we're doing -- if we have a problem -- we can be immediately patched
through to Russia to talk to the Russian specialist directly.
For the majority of the mission, though, we will be talking to
our Capcoms here in MCC-Houston, and that'll include the front
room, if you will, which is the shuttle room as well as the ISS
room and all their controllers. So we can talk to them pretty
we said the Zarya was launched to provide motion control and
electrical power for the space station until the arrival of
the Service Module, and at the time, that was supposed to be
about eight months later. It's been longer than that since.
So, a second priority of your mission is a series of tasks that
are being described as those that extend the service life of
Zarya. Different than fixing things that are broken, describe
the kind of work that you and your crewmates have to do to keep
Zarya, to extend its life.
example of a task like that -- to extend the life of Zarya --
would be the smoke detectors. I mean, some of them have failed,
but they had a known shelf life. So, there's not a real distinction
between repair and service extension to us. We have to go replace
whichever box needs to be replaced. Some of those will extend
the life, and some of those are just for components that have
failed. Most of it is components that were known that they were
going to wear out at some point. Some have worn out a little faster.
But there are actually not a lot of just pure failures from parts
failing. It's just because they exceeded their service life.
are some other jobs inside the ISS that were first planned for
mission 2A.2, without any other letter, that are now on the
agenda for this flight: logistics transfers out of the SPACEHAB
module, more work on the Early Communications system. Talk about
the rest of the timeline for you and your crew inside the station,
particularly jobs that you are going to be busy working with.
What are the other things that are important to be done during
this time that you are there?
big tasks are, in priority, is one, repairing any equipment that's
failed, and then all the service life extension. That's about
90 percent of the work as far as work on the modules. There are
some other things like installing some stuff for the Expedition
crews, like some fasteners and some extra hold-down places for
them, and the majority of the time not spent working and fixing
things will be logistics transfer. Part of that transfer is transfer
to support doing the work. For example, you have to get the battery
out of the SPACEHAB, bring it into the station for the guys to
change the battery. So, some of it is just, you need the part
to go do the work and so you'll transfer some items there. After
all the installation work is done, we are going to transfer as
much stuff as we can put in there for the Expedition crews, and
to also offload any of the work that would be on the second half
of the mission. On the first mission, before it was split, I believe
we were up to almost 8,000 pounds of supplies that were going
to be transferred into both the FGB and the Service Module, and,
of course, we can't transfer any of that equipment into the Service
Module. So, we're going to put whatever we can into the FGB. For
example, enclosures. We can actually utilize some space above
the ceiling by opening up panels and building this metal enclosure
that'll keep the bags and everything away from, say, cable conduits
and other sensitive equipment. So, we can stuff more bags up in
the ceiling. It's kind of like a big closet.
last mission to the space station encountered a slight degradation
in the air quality on the inside. First, what is it at this
point that's believed to have been the source of that problem,
and second, what's being done on your mission to ensure that
none of you develops any of those same symptoms?
[crew] reported some problems that we believe were associated
with air quality. One of the problems in space is that you have
to completely control your atmosphere. All the CO2 that we produce
while we're breathing, all the humidity that we produce due to
respiration, all will collect in the volume you're working with
if you don't actively take the air out and scrub it of moisture
and of CO2, for example. The problem in the shuttle-station flights
is that we don't have the whole air revitalization system on [the]
station active yet, so those parts aren't there. So, we depend
on the space shuttle to scrub the entire atmosphere for the entire
volume that we're working in. We have to, when we get in, hook
up tubes and hoses and basically plumb the air so that it all
recirculates back through the shuttle so we can use what we call
LiOH canisters. They absorb CO2, get [it] out of the atmosphere
and provide ventilation and flow in series with the fans that
are already in the FGB. One of the problems in space is, if you
get into a dead area, for example, where there's not much air
flow because there's no convection-there's no up or down in space
so hot air doesn't rise, for example-you can, by breathing, make
a bubble of CO2 around your face. You can actually be breathing
a lot of CO2, and you can get some symptoms due to CO2 which [are]
headache and some other symptoms like that. The other problem
is, if you don't have a lot of air flow over you, you could also
heat up. Actually, you see people with flush faces, especially
when they're working hard trying to replace things behind panels.
One of the simple fixes is, we're going to bring a lot of little
fans. We're going to have these little portable fans on clamps
that we can clamp up into our work area and turn on to get us
a lot of local flow. All the folks that work on the environmental
control and life support systems have completely analyzed the
modules and have found a way to optimize the flow, to get better
flow through the Node and the FGB and back into the shuttle. So
we're going to have some modification of the duct work once we
get up there to improve the scrubbing of the air to provide a
better atmosphere because, if you put seven people in a closed
environment and make them work pretty hard, you're going to produce
a tremendous amount of moisture, which is one of the limiting
problems. You can produce so much moisture that the humidity levels
get very high. So, actually, training here in Houston's good because
it's hot and humid here, so it might be the same way in the station.
all of that work complete, as you folks undock and fly around
the station to get a good look at it, what will have to have
been accomplished, what are the criterion, for STS-101 at that
point to have been considered a success?
get up and having a successful docking is going to be the first
step. Completing our EVA and getting the top-priority items on
the list of repair and extension tasks and getting our transfer
items moved across to the station are all going to be milestones
to achieve our goal of a successful mission. The whole bottom
line is to leave the station in a configuration where it's ready
to accept the Service Module and be ready for STS-106. Then we
will have had a successful mission.
the end of last year, everybody compiled year-end and decade-end
and millennial-end lists, and human space flight was voted amongst
the top five news events of the 20th century, from Gagarin to
the Moon landings and beyond. Well, you're getting ready for
one of the first human spaceflights of the 21st century on a
mission that is designed to extend the human presence in space.
Why is that important? What's the value of building this station
and making it possible for human beings to stay in space?
Well, I think
the most important thing about space flight is that it makes the
world a better place for our children. Everything we do in space
is about making everything better for life on Earth. There have
been a lot of technological breakthroughs, everything from the
computer chip to medical discoveries that we've learned in space.
There are a lot of things that are going to happen that we can't
even imagine yet. We are also a species that likes to explore.
And while [the] space station, I would not consider deep space
exploration because it's still in low-Earth orbit, it's the first
step to extend our presence into space to go on and do things
like go to the Moon again and Mars, which I think is extremely
important. I hope that someday, even if I don't get the opportunity,
my daughter and her children would be part of a spacefaring nation
that can move on to Mars and beyond the solar system to really
find out about the universe that we live in and understand the
origins of life and answer some pretty tough questions that we
can only ponder today.